Generational changes and party identification
- Cite this article as:
- Miller, W.E. Polit Behav (1992) 14: 333. doi:10.1007/BF00991984
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The party identification of nonblack voters, separated by region, is examined within three broadly bounded cohorts or political generations consisting of those whose first votes were cast prior to 1932, those of the New Deal era whose first votes were cast between 1932 and 1964, and the post-New Deal generation who have come of voting age since 1964. Inter- and intragenerational comparisons are presented for three political eras reflected in NES data: 1952–60, 1964–76, and 1980–88. Outside the South, the post-New Deal generation was more pro-Democratic in the period 1964–76 than was the older New Deal generation. However, they also led the surge away from the Democrats and to the Republican party between 1980 and 1988. Nevertheless, in the latter period they were less dominantly Republican than were the members of the New Deal generation. In the South the better educated voters of the post-New Deal generation led the realignment that largely eroded the Democratic plurality between 1960 and 1988. Nationally, the policy preferences of the post-New Deal generation in the 1980s further polarized party differences between Democrats and Republicans. This occurred largely because of the substantially greater liberal cast of post-New Deal Democrats' preferences. On other issues, party differences were maintained, but Republicans as well as Independents and Democrats in the post-New Deal generation exhibited visibly more liberal preferences than did their older partisan counterparts in the New Deal generation.